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Smorgaschord 2023 celebrates the centenary of the dazzling Hungarian composer, György Ligeti, surely one of the most infectiously brilliant composers of all time. Ligeti lived an extraordinary life. A Hungarian born in Romania to a Jewish family, his early life was characterised by the trauma of the catastrophic events of the Second World War.

His music always packs a tremendous emotional punch. It is exuberant, full of imagination, zany, shocking - and often completely hilarious. There is no composer with a greater range of emotions - from apocalyptic devastation to farcical immaturity. But perhaps what is most amazing about Ligeti is the exuberance and enthusiasm of his music. He was fascinated by everything: music, art, film, poetry - from all over the world and from all across history.

And so, in just one day in June, we’re hoping to capture a snapshot of that eclecticism in our festival. We have some extraordinary musicians coming to join us, including pianist Danny Driver, horn-player Ben Goldscheider, the Kleio String Quartet, and violinist Stephen Waarts. The format is short and sweet: three concerts, each around an hour in length, across the span of one gorgeous, midsummer day.

True to our ambitions, brand new music will feature prominently in the day. A particular treat will be the first UK performance of a new version of a piece by György Kurtág and his son, Kurtág Jr, called Zwiegespräch. We are thrilled that Kurtág Jr himself will be joining us to play electronics in the performance.

There’s also the opportunity to hear the world premiere of a piece by composer Laurence Osborn for horn-player Ben Golscheider, especially commissioned by Smorgaschord for this year's festival. It will be utterly fascinating to hear what extraordinary new sounds Laurence will conjure up for us. As part of his afternoon recital, Danny Driver will also give the UK premieres of piano miniatures by Martin Suckling and Thomas Adès. Danny will also perform the world premiere of a piece by the Irish composer Deidre McKay, described by the Irish Examiner as ‘exceptionally imaginative in the sound world she creates’.

You can view a brochure for the entire festival here.

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Holywell Music Room | 17 June | 1pm 

Danny Driver | Stephen Waarts | Ben Goldscheider | Eliza Millett | Sebastian Black 


Claude Debussy Violin Sonata 

György Ligeti Cello Sonata

George Enescu Airs dans le genre roumain

György Ligeti Horn Trio

£15 | Students £5 | Festival Pass £30

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Holywell Music Room | 17 June | 4.30pm

Danny Driver, piano

Music by Julian Anderson, Joshua Uzoigwe, Deidre McKay,* Frédéric Chopin, Martin Suckling** and Thomas Adès**

interspersed with 

György Ligeti Études (selection)

*world premiere

**UK premiere

£15 | Students £5 | Festival Pass £30

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Chapter House | Christ Church Cathedral | 17 June | 7.30pm

György Kurtág Jr. | Ben Goldscheider | Kleio Quartet

Programme to include: 

Laurence Osborn Halili, or The Kill (world premiere)*

György Kurtág Sr | György Kurtág Jr Zwiegespräch for string quartet and electronics 

Robert Schumann String Quartet No. 2 in F major Op. 41 No. 2

*Commissioned by Smorgaschord with generous support from the Vaughan Williams Foundation

£15  | Students £5 | Festival Pass £30

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